Bodies across borders (Brian McGilloway)
"It was not beyond reason that Angela Cashell's final resting place should straddle the border. Presumably, neither those who dumped her corpse, nor, indeed, those who had created the border between the North and South of Ireland in 1920, could understand the vagaries that meant that her body lay half in one country and half in another, in an area known as the borderlands."But things get even more intriguing. Most readers, I suspect, will assume an identity between an author and a first-person narrator, and most authors, I suspect, know that readers will suspect this. Interesting, then, that McGilloway, born in Derry, Northern Ireland, a teacher there, and resident "near the Irish Borderlands," according to the novel's biographical blurb, writes in the persona of a garda, a member of the police from the Irish Republic.
Moreover, McGilloway delivers this information in a matter-of-fact manner calculated to achieve the greatest effect:
"When a crime occurs in an area not clearly in one jurisdiction or another, the Irish Republic's An Garda Siochana and the Police Service of Northern Ireland work together, each offering all the practical help and advice they can, the lead detective determined generally by either the location of the body or the nationality of the victim.I have not read much beyond these opening passages, but it seems to me McGilloway casts himself in the role of an outsider against a background that will scramble all notions of inside and outside right from the start.
"Consequently then, I stood with my colleagues from An Garda facing our northern counterparts through the snow-heavy wind ... "
OK, now that I've figured everything out, I'll go ahead and read the book. But I'll leave you with this question: What other characters combine the insider and outsider roles, or move between the two?
© Peter Rozovsky 2008
Northern Ireland crime fiction
Irish crime fiction